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Evidence that Scientology is adopting an anti-vaxx strategy, and with political aspirations

[L to r: Jonathan Lockwood, Renee Bessone, and Greg Mitchell, founders of Conscience Coalition]

There’s a new group of Scientologists and their allies calling themselves the Conscience Coalition. It doesn’t have the official blessing of the church yet, but there’s no doubt they’re well connected with OSA, the Office of Special Affairs, which is responsible for all contact with the world outside Scientology. The stated goal of the new group is “To protect our fundamental right to freedom of conscience, which includes freedom of thought, belief and religion, is secured for every individual.”

And you know when Scientology is that vague, it’s up to something.


With one notable exception the members are entirely Scientologists. Follow any of them on social media and you will find photos from the Freewinds, from Flag Land Base, from Delphian Academy, and from Scientology social reform front groups. The “Chief architect, strategist and lobbyist” of the group is Greg Mitchell, a registered lobbyist for Scientology who received half a million dollars from the church over the last five years. His wife Renee Bessone is listed as the founder and chair of the organization.


[Jonathan Lockwood and political consultant Roger Stone]

The third member of the troika is Jonathan Lockwood, a conservative political operative once described as “flat-out deranged” by The Denver Post editorial board for a 2015 attack ad against U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. We can find no evidence that Lockwood is or ever was a Scientologist. He has been recruited as an ally of Scientology, as described in the policies of L. Ron Hubbard. His views on psychiatry are certainly in line with those of Scientologists.

The Coalition has expressed support for the anti-vaccine movement, and we are reminded that Mitchell caused a stir when the New York Times pointed out that he offered his help to an upstate New York ultra-Orthodox Jewish community over their vaccination concerns. The Coalition also opposes psychiatry and promotes religious freedom. In 2010 Mitchell founded the International Religious Freedom Roundtable which supports legislation that protects freedom of religion. This is what Scientology is paying for, as the group’s web page states “the Church of Scientology International supports the Firm’s multi-faith work as part of its selfless social mission to advance religious freedom for all. They fully understand that a rising tide lifts all boats.”


The Coalition’s first target is not religious freedom, but opposition to SB 276, a bill in the California Legislature intended to examine medical exemptions to vaccination for children attending school in California. California currently allows doctors to write a letter that vaccination may be dangerous to a particular child’s health and should be exempt from the requirements. The bill would require that doctors now make that statement under penalty of perjury, that the state should examine exemption letters from doctors who issue five or more per school year, and that the state should examine the records of any school that reports an immunization rate of less than 95 percent. It’s an attempt to ensure that exemption letters are medically accurate and not based on a parent’s fear of required vaccinations. Bessone’s video describing the provisions of the bill is almost completely inaccurate.


The Coalition had a big win this week — a meeting between Greg Mitchell and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence on religious freedom. Expanding the religious roundtables from those Mitchell can personally organize to a world-wide endeavor is one of the purposes of the Conscience Coalition. It remains to be seen if the plan becomes a movement or not.


[Coalition member Teresa Reile, unknown supporter, Joy Villa, Greg Mitchell]

Scientology is attempting to gain access to the White House through Mitchell and pop singer Joy Villa. Bringing in a well-known conservative firebrand like Jonathan Lockwood is a smart move for opening doors to the administration. If they can gain influence they can advance the goals of their social reform groups and protect Scientology from investigation, taxation, or regulation.

— Rod Keller


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, and Nancy Cartwright]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] From Sands Hall’s excellent ‘Flunk. Start.’ — the paradox of ‘Keeping Scientology Working’
[TWO years ago] As Leah Remini’s second season approaches, more Scientology survivors are opening up
[THREE years ago] Scientology goes shopping for a new top cop in L.A., and a new video from Chris Shelton!
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s speechwriter, the word of God, and a Hubbard bio that will never see the light of day
[FIVE years ago] Surviving Scientology podcast: Former treasury employee Mat Pesch spills the beans
[SIX years ago] Neil Gaiman’s Nephew Fights for Scientology Marriage Rights in the UK
[SEVEN years ago] Why Do Scientologists Accept the Xenu Story?
[EIGHT years ago] Jamie DeWolf, L. Ron Hubbard’s Great-Grandson, Spins a Spine-Chilling Performance About His DNA


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,514 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,643 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,147 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,667 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 687 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 578 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,885 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,753 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,527 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,301 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,647 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,213 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,132 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,300 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,881 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,142 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,181 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,893 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,419 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,508 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,648 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,968 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,824 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,943 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,298 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,601 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,707 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,109 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,981 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,564 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,059 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,313 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,422 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 21, 2019 at 07:00

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Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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